ELK GROVE (CBS13) — Illegal marijuana-grows are on the rise in Elk Grove.
Police have raided 13 homes and made eight arrests just in the last few weeks. They say the new recreational marijuana law is a driving factor behind the trend.
“This is very unsafe; it is tumultuous, every day we are on pins and needles.”
Over the last three years, “Jill” has seen the home on Panamint Court busted by Elk Grove police not once, but twice.
“We noticed the minivans were all backing in and they would only get out of the single car side of the garage. We got a glimpse of the double side, and there was a wall that had been built,” Jill said.
Jill has watched the home like a hawk. She’s gone so far as to document the cars and packages coming to the home, fearing it was a marijuana grow.
The home is one of 13 properties raided by Elk Grove police just this month. Undercover agents hit more locations last week and seized about 3,000 plants so far.
One agent tells CBS 13 over half of those arrested are from out of state.
“There’s been an increase in the arrests we have made, an increase in Asians from out of state,” said the undercover agent.
They’re coming from as far as New York and buying or renting homes only to convert them into illegal marijuana farms.
“They’ve converted every living space as much as possible from the front room to the family room, or will build false walls,” the agent added.
The drive behind the rush, police say, is Proposition 64, the new law which legalizes the use of recreational marijuana.
It’s a booming industry bringing illegal pot grows to middle-class neighborhoods in Elk Grove, leaving some neighbors including Jill, on edge about the fate of this home.
“Leave our neighborhood, sell the house, and leave us in peace.”
The problem has also caught the attention of Elk Grove’s mayor who tells CBS 13 “…These large-scale grow operations adversely affect the quality of life in our neighborhoods and compromise public safety.”
Meanwhile, Elk Grove police say they’re relying on community tips to tackle the growing problem.